Saturday, December 19, 2009

Best Birds of 2000-2009

Some other bloggers are doing lists of their favorite bird sightings from the past ten years, so I suppose I might as well make one too. Since I have been birding for less than a full decade, this list is compressed towards the latter half of the last ten years.

  1. Rufous Hummingbird (7 Dec 2003) – The first time I followed a sighting from a rare bird alert was for this Rufous, one of a succession of western hummingbirds that wintered at the Smithsonian in December 2003.
  2. Scott's Oriole (28 Jan 2008) – I saw my 300th life bird in a square in downtown Manhattan.
  3. Green-tailed Towhee (22 Mar 2009) – One of the few New Jersey rare birds to stick around long enough for me to see it.
  4. Golden Eagle (9 Nov 2008) – My first sighting of a wild Golden Eagle was not of a bird soaring overhead but one cradled in the arms of another raptor bander. After its release (above), it stayed around for another day and hunted in the marsh near the banding blind.
  5. Black Rail (27 Jun 2009) – A rare bird to hear and a rarer bird to see, even though it is widespread on the Atlantic coast.
  6. Roseate Spoonbill (26 Aug 2009) –A big, pink, weirdly-shaped life bird out of its normal range.
  7. Purple Gallinule (6 Jun 2004) – Another ostentatious bird outside of its normal range, but this time at Hughes Hollow rather than Brigantine.
  8. Iceland Gull (5 Jan 2009) – I had long wondered if I could pick a white-winged gull out of a crowd of more common gulls, until the day I did.
  9. Horned Lark (15 Dec 2007) – This bird is not uncommon but difficult to find in the places I normally go birding.
  10. Cerulean Warbler (7 May 2006) – Needless to say, I was quite pleased when I finally saw the bird species I had chosen as an emblem for my blog.
You can see other lists at The Birdchaser and The Hawk Owl's Nest.